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Need help starting out...

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

I just graduated college and moved to the city of Chicago about a month ago, and need some SERIOUS help building a fashionable wardrobe. I put myself through college and never had any money to buy anything nice, so I really don't have much..

 

I'm really looking to build a classy wardrobe that allows me to head out on the town on the weekends and feel comfortable whereever I'm at.

 

Any suggestions on where to start? What staples do I need initially?

post #2 of 55
Reasonable query, but missing important information on lifestyle, appearance, etc.
post #3 of 55

A suit and jacket outfit contains the following, and should be seasonally appropriate

 

  1. shoes
  2. socks
  3. pants
  4. belt
  5. dress shirt
  6. suit coat
  7. tie
  8. pocket square (optional)
  9. hat (optional)
  10. outerwear (optional)
  11. vest (optional)

 

I post that to bring attention to the fact that there are many components req'd for a good look.  You'll need some patience.

 

Focus on often used items, like shoes or jackets.  Get a few staples.  Rotate with lesser cost/quality pants, ties, dress shirts, etc to extend the usefulness of your staples.

 

Shoes and belt should match.  Watch out for pairing similar scaled patterns (fine scale patterned shirt with fine scale patterned tie for instance).


The most important thing is fit.  Learn how to indentify what fits correctly on you, and learn your measurements.

post #4 of 55
Actually, in this case a tie might not be needed, numbers 8 and 11 almost certainly shouldn't be purchased, and in Chicago number 10 is a virtual requirement. Anyway, a list in and of itself hardly helps. Also, shoes and belt sometimes should match and sometimes should not, and reversible belts almost never make sense.
post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berko1se View Post

I just graduated college and moved to the city of Chicago about a month ago, and need some SERIOUS help building a fashionable wardrobe. I put myself through college and never had any money to buy anything nice, so I really don't have much..

 

I'm really looking to build a classy wardrobe that allows me to head out on the town on the weekends and feel comfortable whereever I'm at.

 

Any suggestions on where to start? What staples do I need initially?

 

do you live near the gold coast?  try the suit supply there, ask for benjamin, and tell him the same thing you told us here.

 

he gave me suggestions that would pass muster here (i bought a suit and a blazer ).

 

if you're new to chicago, the weather we had today will last for about 10 more days, and then it's face melt time for a few months, then 2 weeks of fall, then subzero freezing temps, so budget accordingly.  stock up on summer and winter clothes first, save spring/fall for necessities.

 

also, chicago's so vast, you might look like a tool in a suit at one part of town, whereas its required in another.  what's your "scene"?  part of "well dressed" is being appropriately dressed for the setting.

post #6 of 55

To build a wardrobe on a budget I'd suggest the following:

 

Read every relevant thread on SF Classic Menswear and start taking notes.  Note the brand names that are synonymous with quality.  Get online and look for Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call.  Make a list of names on your iPhone and then start digging through the clothes at these stores.  As mentioned above, proper fit is crucial. 

 

Buy simple classic items that you can interchange and create many outfits.  Get basic dress trousers in camel and grey and stick with simple light blue shirts.  Look for a blue blazer- you can dress up the afore mentioned items with a blazer.  Stick to simple colors so you can pair any tie with any shirt and any pant and any suit- this will effectively triple your wardrobe. 

Don't buy any "statement pieces" like green tweed pants or something until you are done buying basics.  Style can be attained through simplicity and attention to detail. 

 

As you build get a navy blue suit and then a grey.  Summer is coming soon so stores will start selling sweaters and wool pants at a discount.  Pick up off season items when you can.     

 

Buy good shoes.  I pair of black and one pair of brown.  Shoes are massively important.  Allen Edmonds sells very nice second quality (minor blemish) shoes from their outlets.  Best shoe for the money in my opinion. 

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by red81 View Post

 

do you live near the gold coast?  try the suit supply there, ask for benjamin, and tell him the same thing you told us here.

 

he gave me suggestions that would pass muster here (i bought a suit and a blazer ).

 

if you're new to chicago, the weather we had today will last for about 10 more days, and then it's face melt time for a few months, then 2 weeks of fall, then subzero freezing temps, so budget accordingly.  stock up on summer and winter clothes first, save spring/fall for necessities.

 

also, chicago's so vast, you might look like a tool in a suit at one part of town, whereas its required in another.  what's your "scene"?  part of "well dressed" is being appropriately dressed for the setting.


Yes, I live on the south end of Lincoln Park. And whenever I'm out with co-workers or friends on the weekends, we generally hit up bars and restaurants near down town that I can sense require a certain "look" that I don't yet have. Appreciate the tip regarding the suit supply as well!

post #8 of 55
Here are my '10 Commandments' of building a wardrobe.

01) Ye shall not build a wardrobe in a day.
02) Fit is king. For what good is it to save money and look ye terrible?
03) It is better to buy ye, one nice thing than 2 or 3 cheaply made things. Quality over quantity.
04) If ye cannot afford the most expensive of goods, then wherever possible, emulate the look. Plenty of less expensive alternatives out there.
05) Thou shalt focus on thy needs before thy desires.
06) Classic (or Conservative) will always be 'in'. Start ye from there before entertaining trends.
07) Thou shalt re-learn your city for sources of end-of-lines, or clearance centres. Buying pre-owned is also good.
08) Thou shalt buy off-season, and/or at season end if possible. Most items are liquidated by then.
09) Thou shalt learn thy skin tones and select colours that compliment ye.
10) Thrift stores can save thee a fortune and allow ye to experiment for peanuts.


A few suggestions for a bare minimum wardrobe:
2 pair of decent dress shoes (1 black, 1 brown or burgundy)(Allen Edmonds factory seconds if possible)
1 pair of shoe trees (use after a days wearing of shoes to remove moisture)(emergency backup - crumpled clean sheet of newspaper)
3 belts (1 black, 1 brown, 1 cloth)
2 suits (1 navy, 1 charcoal)
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of deck shoes (example- Sperry TopSiders)
10 pair of socks in various colours (cotton or wool -no blends)
10 pair of underwear
10 undershirts
5 medium weight shirts (2 white or off-white, 2 blue, 1 pencil stripe)(button down collars optional)(Oxford Cloth for cold weather only)
2 Polo shirts
1 sport jacket (medium weight)(dark and quietly patterned)(example - Brooks Brothers)
2 linen off white pocket squares
3 pair of pants (chinos are ok with a sport jacket)(1 Tan, 1 Navy, 1 Nantucket Red)
1 lightweight windbreaker jacket
1 Panama hat (or equivalent thereof)

Be patient and do research before spending. This will save you money.
Also be aware of our Buy & Sell area right here: http://www.styleforum.net/f/11/buying-and-selling-archive
That is my $0.02 worth. Welcome to Styleforum.
post #9 of 55

Well done on the 10 commandments! I'm taking notes as we speakand the bare minimum wardrobe helps too. Thanks on that

post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by punchdrunkwelle View Post

Well done on the 10 commandments! I'm taking notes as we speakand the bare minimum wardrobe helps too. Thanks on that

Glad to be of assistance. There were good suggestions before my post as well.
One thing I forgot to list was to have several ties. Those can be thrifted at $2-$5 each so buy at least half a dozen.
Essential tie materials can include, grenadine, seven fold silk, thick wool, seersucker, knit, etc.
Essential tie patterns such as, plain, micro dots, striped, etc ,,,quiet patterns,
Try for 3.25" tie widths. That width is eternal.
Essential tie colours in burgundy, navy, forest green, yellow, etc. again, not too loud, whatever the colours.
Ties are powerful. One shirt + 5 ties = 5 combos. Two (1 blue, 1 white) shirts + 5 ties = 10 combos, and so on.
Tie patterns and colours should get along with jacket colours, patterns and textures.
Welcome to Styleforum.
post #11 of 55
The 10 commandments are okay, but blah, the "bare minimum wardrobe" is very subjective and overkill and potentially harmful re the original request. And to be more precise about brown, medium or dark brown is much more fundamental than light brown - not that any brown necessarily is needed in this case.

Still no information on appearance, such as measurements, so maybe there's no reason to try to help.
post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

Reasonable query, but missing important information on lifestyle, appearance, etc.

Wrong. He clearly stated he finished college and wants to build up his wardrobe. In all likelihood, this will include getting a job where he needs to dress for the business world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

Actually, in this case a tie might not be needed, numbers 8 and 11 almost certainly shouldn't be purchased, and in Chicago number 10 is a virtual requirement. Anyway, a list in and of itself hardly helps. Also, shoes and belt sometimes should match and sometimes should not, and reversible belts almost never make sense.


Garasaki's list was quite reasonable. According to you however, the OP is not allowed to purchase or wear a pocket square or vest (waistcoat).
What kind of a consultant are you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

The 10 commandments are okay, but blah, the "bare minimum wardrobe" is very subjective and overkill and potentially harmful re the original request. And to be more precise about brown, medium or dark brown is much more fundamental than light brown - not that any brown necessarily is needed in this case.
Still no information on appearance, such as measurements, so maybe there's no reason to try to help.

My post is more than ok. It may not be for everyone and I never said it was 'the' rule book. My list will serve any man at the office, pub or nightclub. My list, or Garasaki's list would serve 98% of a mans basic needs.
I clearly stated that it is my list, not 'the list' If someone can produce a better list, I am all for it and will gladly concede. You don't need to know the OPs every minute lifestyle given the location of the originating post, which is Classic Menswear. So far, I haven't seen you contribute anything useful in this thread, so let's see it.
The question was, man graduates college and wants to dress well. As he stated, for daywear, and weekend 'on the town', meaning pubs or the odd nightclub. Where is your starter list? I am sure we can all benefit from your great wisdom.
We await... lurker[1].gif
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

Actually, in this case a tie might not be needed, numbers 8 and 11 almost certainly shouldn't be purchased, and in Chicago number 10 is a virtual requirement. Anyway, a list in and of itself hardly helps. Also, shoes and belt sometimes should match and sometimes should not, and reversible belts almost never make sense.

 

I think he made a valuable point about reversable belts.

 

As for you, Man of Link...Nantucket Red pants?  Really?  smack.gif

post #14 of 55
(so good it was posted twice?)
post #15 of 55
He only wrote about "weekends." One can't assume he wants a new office wardrobe (although there probably should be dual-use items). Many people work in casual environments. Of course he should speak for himself. And this isn't the place for generic lists, especially those geared toward older men. Vests and pocket squares on young men tend to look flashy. It's the usual thing - if a user provides enough information about himself, he'll get a helpful answer (as just happened in another thread). People on Style Forum generally don't help well, even when they want to.
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